Done, What’s That?

Is anything ever finished?

It often doesn’t feel that way. We put so much emphasis on task completion and accomplishing goals that how we got there gets lost in the shuffle.

At least I do that.

I’ve always enjoyed crossing things off the list more than doing them. There’s such satisfaction with sitting back and seeing the completed project –a finished quilt, an organized filing cabinet, a clean kitchen. Because, who actually does enjoy doing dishes? But I like a clean kitchen more.

Yet once one job is done it’s time to move on to the next one. There’s never an end of “things to do.”

I’ve spent most of my summer so far getting ready to go to Lithuania to teach this coming school year. My “To Do” list started off at an overwhelming three pages. I’ve whittled it down to half a page, now mostly things that can’t be done until the last minute such as canceling accounts or services.

Every day, I’ve told myself to still live in the present and enjoy the moment. Spend time with family and friends, take time to have some fun. I didn’t want to spend all my now time getting ready for future time.

I think I’ve been moderately successful. I have intentionally stopped sorting, packing, and prepping, but the challenge is that some things just have to be done. If all I did was sit around and enjoy the moment, the future would be a pretty rough place. I wouldn’t have all the medication and supplements I need for my Lyme treatment. I wouldn’t have the necessary paperwork for my work visa. I wouldn’t have half a clue what I’m supposed to do once I get where I’m going.

Because the future does get here. It’s called today.

That’s the paradox of time. We’re perpetually in the now, but what we do in this now greatly affects tomorrow’s now.

I wonder if being done is really more about another step in the process of endless now’s rather than finishing something once and for all. If we can live in the moment while simultaneously planning for the future and learning from the past perhaps we can see life as a continuous string of connected moments rather than individual items on that never ending “To Do” list.

Packing 2I don’t know. It’s tough. Really tough. It takes constant awareness and commitment. And speaking for myself, I can’t do it all the time. A living room full of things that can’t all possibly fit in a suitcase, and a box of supplements that will take up half the allotted weight, is enough to bring on a meltdown. But meltdowns don’t accomplish anything except a headache, and I’ve already got enough of those.

What does help is giving myself enough time to step back, take a break, get some perspective. Easier said than done, but I’m trying. Moment by ever present moment.